Kaniehtí:io (1731 – 1760), colloquially known as Ziio, was a Kanien'kehá:ka warrior from the village of Kanatahséton, and is an ancestor of Desmond Miles. Unlike her fellow villagers, who preferred to stay neutral to protect their sacred sanctuary, she sought to fight the British encroaching on her people's lands.
She gained an ally in the Templar Haytham Kenway, who sought access to the sanctuary. The two shared a brief relationship, which resulted in the conception and birth of a son whom she named Ratonhnhaké:ton. When her son was four, she died during an attack on the village ordered by George Washington; Ratonhnhaké:ton grew up believing Haytham's subordinate Charles Lee was responsible, setting him on the path to join the Assassins.
Kaniehtí:io was born in 1731 to the Clan Mother in Kanatahséton and was trained to succeed her from an early age. Throughout her life, Kaniehtí:io would often voice her concerns over the colonists expanding into their territory, despite the village's consensus to stay neutral. At some point, she befriended Achilles Davenport, Mentor of the Colonial Assassins.
- "There was a woman there, that night. It was she who helped the others to safety. If we could find her, I believe I'll have my answers."
- ―Haytham Kenway.[src]
Prior to the French and Indian War, in 1754, Kaniehtí:io was captured and personally escorted to the slaver Silas Thatcher with other members of her nation. However, on their way to Southgate Fort through Boston, her convoy was attacked by Haytham Kenway and his fellow Templars, who held the intention of assassinating Silas and freeing the slaves for leverage material on her nation's sanctuary.
On entering the fort, the Templars freed the natives held captive there and Kaniehtí:io led them to safety. While leaving the fort with her people, Kaniehtí:io briefly smiled at Haytham in gratitude.
Later, Haytham decided that Kaniehtí:io would be a vital ally in helping the Templars' search for the precursor site, as members of the First Civilization were considered to be sacred gods by the Kanien'kehá:ka nation. Haytham expected the Kanien'kehá:ka to contact him out of gratitude for rescuing their people, but he heard nothing even after several weeks.
In the winter of 1754, Kaniehtí:io began scouting out Lexington, after learning that Edward Braddock and his troops were posted there and were attempting to drive her and her people from their lands. Her actions caught the attention of Charles Lee, and led both him and Haytham to seek her out near the town.
However, Kaniehtí:io left her camp moments before they arrived, and once the two had caught up with her, she escaped into the trees. Haytham was forced to chase her, until she finally stopped to give him a chance to speak. After introducing themselves, Haytham showed her the amulet he had acquired in London. Kaniehtí:io admitted that she had seen similar markings somewhere else, but refused to speak of it, since the location was sacred.
In an effort to gain her trust, Haytham offered to help her kill Braddock, to which Kaniehtí:io agreed but remained suspicious of him. They visited the tavern in Concord and eavesdropped on several Redcoats, learning that Braddock could be found at Fort St-Mathieu. Upon leaving the tavern, Haytham was stopped by the Redcoats, triggering a bar brawl. After beating up the Redcoats, Kaniehtí:io treated a small cut on Haytham's cheek, applying a cloth with alcohol. Although he claimed it was not necessary, Haytham thanked her nonetheless.
Kaniehtí:io later met with Haytham outside Fort St-Mathieu, where Haytham successfully retrieved military plans that revealed the route of Braddock's expedition to Fort Duquesne. Over the next several months, Kaniehtí:io planned an ambush of the expedition to kill Braddock, while gathering the support of warriors from other Native American tribes.
In July of 1755, Kaniehtí:io met with Haytham and her Native allies in the Frontier. While her forces attacked the expedition once panic ensued, Kaniehtí:io came to Haytham's aid by tackling and pinning George Washington. This allowed Haytham to chase and fatally wound Braddock, leaving him for dead.
Haytham's end of the agreement fulfilled, Kaniehtí:io traveled with him to the entrance to the Grand Temple, revealing a painted cave wall. However, the amulet did not react, leaving Haytham at a dead end in his investigation. Seeing his disappointment, Kaniehtí:io explained the story of the cave paintings of their sacred gods. As she held his hand, the two revealed their feelings for one another and shared a kiss; they would later meet again, leading to the conception of a son.
The two separated when Kaniehtí:io learned that Haytham had not killed Braddock as he had assured her, but simply mortally wounded him. A month after the attack, Lee came to inform Haytham that Braddock had died of his wounds and was buried by Washington. Believing that Haytham had manipulated her, an enraged Kaniehtí:io demanded that he leave.
Later life and death
- "You will think yourself alone, but know that I will be at your side. Always and forever. I love you."
- ―Kaniehtí:io's last words to her son.[src]
Kaniehtí:io raised her son, Ratonhnhaké:ton, in her home village of Kanatahséton. However, due to her actions in the attack of the Braddock Expedition, she was denied the position of becoming Clan Mother herself, having defied Oiá:ner's wishes. Kaniehtí:io also learned the truth that Haytham was a Templar; as a result, she began to fear that her son might inherit his father's malevolent ambitions.
One day in 1760, Kaniehtí:io allowed her young son to venture into the forest to play with the other children. During this time, Lee and a group of Templars came to the village, demanding access to the spirit sanctuary, but were denied access and left. Unknown to Kaniehtí:io, Lee had found her son in the forest and assaulted him for his own amusement.
The village was soon attacked by soldiers under the orders of George Washington, and as a result, Kaniehtí:io was trapped beneath a pile of rubble inside a burning hut; Ratonhnhaké:ton returned but was unable to free and rescue her. Knowing her time was short, Kaniehtí:io shared her final words with her son, until a village elder carried him away to safety, reluctantly leaving her to die.
- "Oh, you're sorry? I found my mother burning alive. I'll never forget her face as she sent me away. Charles Lee is responsible for her death by your order. And you're sorry?"
- ―Connor blaming Haytham for his mother's death.
Ratonhnhaké:ton grew up traumatized by his mother's death. Naturally, he believed the man who had attacked him had also burned the village and killed his mother, so he joined the Assassins to ensure the Templars would never again harm his people. He kept his mother's necklace in his bedroom at the Davenport Homestead.
Haytham eventually learned of Kaniehtí:io's death when he returned to America by 1774. When he encountered his son, Haytham feigned ignorance of her death so as to more easily convince him that they were not responsible. However, this backfired when Haytham revealed that Washington had ordered the burning of the village, as Connor was disgusted that his father had hidden the truth and turned on him.
In the alternate reality projected by an Apple of Eden, George Washington had obtained the Piece of Eden and become a tyrannical king. Kaniehtí:io snuck into Washington's fortress and stole his scepter, which housed the Apple. Israel Putnam managed to retrieve the scepter after shooting it off her back as she made her escape.
After her failed attempt, she returned to the Frontier, reuniting with her son. The two proceeded through the forest and discovered that King Washington's army of Bluecoats were attacking the frontier in search of Kaniehtí:io.
Kaniehtí:io and Ratonhnhaké:ton fought the Bluecoats while rescuing captured civilians in Concord. As they made their way to Lexington, they came face-to-face with King Washington who warned them that he would have revenge against Kaniehtí:io and destroy their village. While traveling back to Kanatahséton, Kaniehtí:io and Ratonhnhaké:ton met with Teiowí:sonte, who revealed that the Clan Mother had sent him to collect boughs from the Great Willow Tree, intending to brew the special tea and gain its power. Knowing the risks of the tea, Kaniehtí:io implored her son not to drink it, afraid that its power would endanger and corrupt him.
Kaniehtí:io returned to the village and confronted Oiá:ner, arguing that they should unite and use their strength without the tea. Oiá:ner retorted that they had no choice in order to fight the King's army and blamed Kaniehtí:io for incurring his wrath upon them. Kaniehtí:io left and gave Ratonhnhaké:ton a pair of Hidden Blades, left for him by his father. The village was then attacked by the Bluecoats. After fighting overwhelming numbers, King Washington approached and swiftly killed Kaniehtí:io using the power of the Apple.
After surviving the attack, Ratonhnhaké:ton would later use the tea from the Great Willow, gaining animal powers in order to fight Washington. During his second confrontation with Washington and later during his third sky journey, Ratonhnhaké:ton was met by phantoms of his deceased mother, saddened and condemning him for disobeying her. After the King's defeat, a final vision appeared before Ratonhnhaké:ton, warning him to not take the Apple, which he ultimately ignored.
- Kaniehtí:io, in the Kanien'kehá:ka dialect, translates to "beautiful snow".
- Kaniehtí:io was the only non-Assassin or Templar to ever be seen performing a Leap of Faith.
- Kaniehtí:io was briefly playable during the Memory Corridor between the end of Haytham's memories and the start of their son's, making her the only woman to be playable in Desmond's ancestry.
- A deleted dialogue from the game clarifies Oiá:ner's line that Kaniehtí:io was once aided by the Assassins: Connor asks Achilles if his mother was an Assassin, to which he responds she was simply an "ally."
- Kaniehtí:io's necklace indicates she is a member of the Turtle Clan.